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Rudd accused of playing favourites in reshuffle

Meanwhile, Australian Greens leader Bob Brown says more women should have been elevated to the ministry in the front bench reshuffle.


But Treasurer Wayne Swan says the reshuffle recognised the abilities of former assistant treasurer Chris Bowen, unionist Greg Combet and Senator Mark Arbib in particular. Mr Hockey says the shake-up, that followed last week’s resignation of Joel Fitzgibbon from the defence portfolio, did not elevate talent. He singled out two big winners, Chris Bowen who has been elevated to cabinet, and Mark Arbib, has been elevated to the ministry. “Chris Bowen bungled FuelWatch, grocery watch and the employee share scheme initiative in the budget and then gets rewarded with a very senior cabinet post,” Mr Hockey told the Nine network. “(And) Mark Arbib, the architect of the NSW Labor government, gets rewarded. “You’ve got to ask yourself on what criteria did Mr Rudd promote these sort of people?” Mr Rudd is “rewarding those people that have supported him,” he said. “(And) There seems to be a lot of payback by Mr Rudd to key faction chiefs.” But he was not as critical of Greg Combet, who takes on the role of Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel, and Science. “I don’t underestimate Greg Combet. (He) is a very talented individual.” Retrograde step: Brown Senator Brown called the new-look ministry a retrograde step. “This was a golden opportunity to even up the enormous imbalance there is in government,” Senator Brown told ABC radio. Queensland Senator Jan McLucas has stepped down from her role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing to focus on her role as a senator. Kate Ellis has been appointed Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare and Youth, in addition to her existing Sport portfolio. And Maxine McKew has been made Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. But no new women have been given ministerial duties under the reshuffle announced by Mr Rudd in Brisbane. Showcasing Labor talent: Swan Treasurer Wayne Swan says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s front bench reshuffle showcases Labor’s talent. “I think it is a measured reshaping of the ministry,” Mr Swan told Network Ten on Sunday. “I think it also demonstrates the depth of talent in the government.”